A Good Old French Taunting
Monty Python’s Spamalot, now on stage at The Dunfield Theatre in Cambridge bears the warning “irreverent adult content”. Here’s the good news: the irreverence is based on equality: the ridicule reaches out to all people and institutions on an equal basis, so no one can take particular offence. The show makes fun of Royals, the English, the Finns, the French, Gays and Jews, and a poke at Christians, too. It takes shots at ancient legends, traditions, religion, Las Vegas and Broadway. There is no respect shown for anything or anyone, and yet, the audience roars with laughter!
A spoof on the Arthurian legend, Spamalot is “lovingly ripped-off” from the 1975 movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This hilarious show is well-polished. Director Alex Mustakas has brought it back: it was a hit with audiences in Grand Band and St. Jacobs in 2013. Many cast members returned and a few new ones had been added. All of them have perfect comedic timing. They must have been selected based their Monty Python sense of humour.
Mustakas managed to purchase sets and costumes from the Broadway tour of Spamalot. There are so many amazing costumes and wigs: eight cast members create more than 25 characters, and the eight ensemble members have numerous changes. It’s hard to believe that so many different characters are created by just 16 people. From the colourful dancing Finns to the drab corpses on the dead wagon, every costume is perfect.
Victor Young, veteran of Canadian stage, is perfect as King Arthur. His combination of kingly arrogance and silly gullibility really demonstrates his penchant for comedy.
Arthur’s trusty sidekick, Patsy, (still not sure if he is horse or man), is played by the coconut clopping Nick Settimi. Settimi’s response to Arthur’s song “I’m All Alone” is hysterical.
Jennifer Lyon as The Lady of the Lake is hilarious in her duet with Galahad, “The Song That Goes Like This”, and even funnier with “The Diva’s Lament (Whatever happened to my part?)”. Entertaining the knights at Camelot, she shows her stellar abilities with various impersonations, including a tip of the helmet to the late Joan Rivers.
Eddie Glen shows his comedic genius as Sir Robin, the Finnish Mayor, the Guard and Brother Maynard, but he really shines as the French Taunter. Laughter fills the theatre when Glen mocks the Knights in his outrageous French accent.
Stephen Patterson keeps everyone laughing as Dennis/Sir Galahad who goes through an amazing transformation, tossing his beautiful hair. He is also Herbert’s Father and the Black Knight, who loses his arms and legs to Arthur’s sword Excalibur, calling it “but a scratch” and “flesh wounds.” Patterson’s comedic timing is always perfect and his loss of limbs hilarious.
Drayton favourite Keith Savage (Sir Bedevere, Mrs. Galahad and Concorde) and Liam Tobin (Sir Lancelot, Knight of Ni and Tim) add to the zany comedy with excellent performances.
Jamie McKnight handles many roles with quick changes: He is the Historian, Not Dead Fred, the singing Minstrel, Prince Herbert and more. He is hilarious in all roles, but he is particularly funny as sweet Herbert locked away in the tower.
The eight ensemble members sing and dance their way throughout the show, playing a multitude of different characters, all adding to the comedy.
I would like to say that this is two hours of good clean fun, but then I remembered the jokes about flatulence and the scantily clad Vegas/Camelot show girls – so I guess it’s a couple of hours of good, dirty fun! This show is fast moving with frequent laughs: it is easy to miss some of the wackiness. It’s the kind of show you need to see twice to catch all the jokes and see all the action. Don’t miss it: it’s laugh-out-loud silly!
Spamalot continues with eight shows a week until May 24 at Dunfield Theatre, Cambridge. Tickets are available by calling the Box Office: 519-621-8000 or Toll Free 1-855-372-9866, or check http://www.draytonentertainment.com/
Photo by Banko Media.
Book & lyrics by Eric Idle
Music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle
Directed by Alex Mustakas
Choreographed by Lisa Stevens
Musical direction by Steve Thomas
Performed by Robert Allan, Danielle Benton, Rachel Clark, Michael Donald, Eddie Glen, Dani Jazzar, Jennifer Lyon, Allison McCaughey, Jamie McKnight, Nicholas Nesbitt, Stephen Patterson, Keith Savage, Nick Settimi, Liam Tobin, Christine Watson, Victor A. Young.
Dunfield Theatre, Cambridge
May 6, to May 24, 2015
Reviewed by Mary Alderson